Hey there people in blog world!
Happy 2014 and all that jazz! After a fairly crappy crimbo for me (which I can’t talk about right now -its a top secret matter blah blah blah), I thought I’d get cracking on another post to entertain you navy wives out there in cyber space, and hopefully make you think “jeez at least I’m not as mental as her“.
So off they’ve gone to save the world again. And you’re at home coping, leaving your clothes on the floor, not hoovering quite as much as you should, and singing and dancing along to Cher with a glass of Pinot Grigio on a Friday night because hell, you can.
Home life, although stressful and/or tedious at times is pretty much sorted. You’ve got this single woman living down. However when you step outside that front door and into the real world, there are some well disguised threats to your new found sense of equilibrium.
Well Meaning people, often coworkers, are the worst for this. “How are you doing since Popeye left?” Is a common question, accompanied by the Dreaded Head Tilt. The tilt that simultaneously says “oh isn’t she a little trooper” and “I really pity you” at the same time.
Fighting the urge to punch them in the face or burst into tears, you must give the obligatory response: “I’m ok, it’s been X many months and so far I’m doing alright”. Whilst at the same time giving a small shrug and looking humble and yet bashful.
You must say this or a variation of this. Trust me.
Screaming “I can’t cope, the house is a bomb site, the dog keeps vomiting something orange onto the carpets, in the last two weeks all I’ve had is a sodding one line email from Popeye and I haven’t shaved my legs nor armpits in 3 months” is NOT what the Well Meanings want to hear.
Other phrases I’ve come across that Well Meanings feel compelled to say, include, but are not limited to:
“Oh the time will just fly by”. (Really? And your knowledge on the “psychological interpretation of the passage of time during deployment” comes from which fully controlled and scientifically valid study???)
“I’d love 6 months without [insert civvy spouse name here], I wish they’d leave for that long!” (Why don’t you just divorce them then?)
“It must be great having the bed to yourself/tv to yourself” etc. (ok yes these are perks but gosh darn I DO NOT want you to tell me about them. When you do it makes me want to grind my teeth for some reason).
“My husband went away on business for 3 weeks, it was awful, I know exactly how you feel”. ( at this point my brain actually explodes).
Boy writing this has actually made me a little tense! *breathe*
The thing is they are genuinely trying to be kind. It’s just that when you try and comfort someone about something you have absolutely no experience of, and cannot relate to, you reach into your mind and pull out something that you vaguely hope will work. Then you’ve done your bit without staring vaguely at the person in an extended version of The Dreaded Head Tilt.
The truth is, nothing will ever be adequate, because unless they say “oh by the by my husbands the admiral of the fleet, I put in a word for you and Popeye will be home by tea time” then whatever they do say just wont cut the mustard.
And of course my reactions aren’t always as violent as described above. Those reactions are usually what I think after the third or fourth Well Meaning person has asked them.
I know I sound like an ungrateful cow for dismissing these honest to goodness questions and positive assertions about how I will cope during the deployment. And it’s so bad, because these people are kind and supportive and good people. I guess I’m just not as good as them! I’m just so glad I’ve got this space to write out my ramblings and rants. Because I really don’t want to punch a coworker in the face.
14 thoughts on “Well Meaning people”
Oh boy… I can relate…. I think for me at least the frustration in hearing the well meaning responses is because I suddenly feel like I have some condition requiring pity even if that isn’t always the case….I have too much pride to receive any pity about the situation 😉
I totally agree! We don’t need pity, we deserve respect! Pity implies some deficiency or error in judgement, neither of which applies to being a naval spouse.
I have always found it best to smile and nod (because like you said, 90% of the time they’re well intentioned) then bitch about it in private. Haha.
Haha I completely agree! There’s not much else you can do, or you’ll get a reputation for being a bit weird/ungrateful.
My favorite, “I know it sucks, but if you need anything… just give me a call.”
No. I will not call you.
Although I do appreciate the kindness, the constant reminder of my situation isn’t helping.
It’s like after a family member dies & everybody is all like, “i’m sorry for your loss…”
I just want people to feed me chocolate and let me watch my Netflix in peace.
Ah yes! How could I forget?! But if you actually rang them for whatever reason, they wouldn’t have a clue what to do, bless em.
I had a friend say to me once when my popeye was on radio silence… Oh I know what your going threw I hate it when my mr doesn’t call me when he’s at work…. He works for a supermarket! with a few drinks in me needless to say we are no longer friends.
Or oh how do you cope I don’t think I could.. You cope (if screaming all by myself into your deodorant can with a glass of rose in your other hand can be called coping) because you have to… I often say oh next time I’ll just write to the admiral of the fleet and say sorry but my sailor can’t sail because I’m scared it will be too hard and then being told I’m rude…. I guess I need to practice my patients with well wishers
One things for sure, going through a deployment does sort out the wheat from the chaff friend wise!
Cannot believe they said that , well, actually I can!
And as for the deodorant and glass of rosé, maybe we should start some kind of navy wags karaoke bar? 😉
I think you’re doing people a disservice. What do you want us to say .. “You knew what he did for a living… suck it up and get on with it”…..? (which is sometimes what people want to say after listening to “woe is me all on my lonesome” stories for what seems like forever because… some people are like you.. can get a grip and get on with being apart from their “other halves” … but not all of them.
Yes it can be tough… but no tougher than being married to a firefighter who may be with you day-in day-out but you never know when a “shout” might end up with him never coming home ever again… Your little dig at supermarket workers.. hmmmm … guess what.. where I come from the manager of the local supermarket is also part of the voluntary lifeboat team.. so he gets to risk his life for others simply for the “love of the job”..
And, as for practising your patience with other well wishers… I’m guessing from the tone of this blog that there won’t be too many of them forming a queue as you are obviously ungrateful and find their concern tedious or downright offensive (which is a shame because they probably do mean what they say.. let’s just hope you never have to find out that you do need them.. and they aren’t there).